Cellphones, drones, radio and video. Today’s technology seems to outpace, but can’t replace, the old ways. Communicating via signal flags is still invaluable.
If equipment breaks down, is unavailable or compromised, the US military can revert to signal flags. During a lockdown, crisis, or critical silence, troops can hoist a flag.
Banner and flag messaging goes back to ancient times. In 1653, the Royal Navy raised signal flags. In 1790, Admiral Lord Howe published the first signal book. In 1817, Captain Frederick Marryat adapted his system for merchant ships. It was enormously popular—and complicated.
To simplify, the International Code of Signals (ICS), maintained by the International Maritime Organization, was narrowed to navigation, safety, and medical codes. Its goal is to keep the language clear and concise.
Signal flag meanings are continually changing. And codes are different for yacht clubs than military use. DEL Flags’ Yacht Club signal flags set are made specifically for Yacht Race Clubs.